Media networks in BRICS countries are keen to share and jointly produce content and work towards a BRICS channel, public broadcasters from the countries said on Wednesday at an industry summit in India.

Speaking on “Challenges and opportunities: Media in BRICS countries” at an annual media conclave of Indian industry body FICCI (Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry), South Africa Broadcasting Corporation COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng said it was time for BRICS countries to find their “own voice”.

“Implementation is key to BRICS cooperation on agreements”, said Motsoeneng in the Indian business capital Mumbai.

The SABC chief’s proposal for a BRICS channel was received with enthusiasm by the other panellists which included Lindsey Oliver, Director BRICS Media Network, Ayuna Badmaeva, CEO of state-owned Digital TV Russia, Mukesh Sharma, Additional Director General of India’s national broadcaster, Doordarshan and Max Leite, Innovation Director at Intel Brazil.

BRICS companies should be able to interact with production houses in the five countries and create unique content, the panellists argued.

Motsoeneng from SABC also stressed that BRICS public broadcasters “must be well distributed in the bloc of five”.

The head of the Indian public broadcaster, Sharma, agreed saying “there are two critical aspects to media: content and carriage. And BRICS cooperation must happen in these two fields”.

Ayuna Badmaeva, CEO of Digital Television Russia, said while 15 per cent of global content is being produced in languages other than English from countries such as South Africa, India and Turkey there are gaps in marketing this content across the world.

Lindsey Oliver, at BRICS Media Network, also spoke about the challenges faced by TV companies in BRICS in switching from analog to digital.

She also referred to the debate around regulating news in these countries and whether there was need for an Ofcom like body.

“I am an advocate of news being regulated. Everybody must be free to report from anywhere, anytime but there must be accountability,” SABC chief Motsoeneng responded to an question from the audience.

Sharma, head of the Indian public broadcaster proposed that the BRICS should organise “TV festivals”.

“Television and film ideas can be seen and exchanged. Work should be shared or we will not know each other,” added Sharma who also heads the Films Division at Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The SABC chief said these conferences and summits should not “end in just talk” and also that broadcasters from these countries must eke out their own path and not follow the models laid out by established western players.

“BRICS Media Network will prepare a white paper on the outcome of the conference and work closely with governments and industry stakeholders like FICCI to turn talk into concrete action,” Oliver told The BRICS Post.